Will survey membership on dues increasesLMOA passes 2024

Will survey membership on dues increases

By Heather Michon

In its final meeting of 2023, the Lake Monticello Owners Association Board of Directors approved the 2024 budget and fee schedule on Thursday (Dec. 14).

The $8.8 million budget is about equal to the 2023 budget. LMOA projects $10.2 million in revenue, with $6.5 million coming from dues and fees.

Along with the budget, they also approved a new fee schedule. Reflecting the regular three percent increase, dues will rise from $955 to $984. There are small adjustments throughout the schedule, including a $5 increase in barcodes and a $15 increase in the family pool plan.

With the association’s 10-year outlook showing a shortfall of at least $4.3 million and a potential 76 percent fall in cash reserves over the next decade, staff and directors have been exploring ways to close the gap and build reserves. This will likely include raising dues and cutting some services.

In his final report for the year, General Manager Tom Schauder listed the many ways he and his team have worked to mitigate budget increases, including cutting staff and police positions, postponing non-critical projects, installing solar on LMOA buildings, and increasing investments to take advantage of higher interest rates.

Schauder said they are also in the final stages of negotiating the 2024 contract with Troon, the management company that has been in charge of the golf course, the pool, and the food and beverage services. Troon will continue to manage golf and pool operations, but LMOA will be seeking new management to run food and beverage services.

Under the current bylaws, the directors can increase dues by a maximum of three percent annually. Anything higher than that has to be approved by the membership.

LMOA is planning on conducting a digital survey of the membership early next year, where residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on potential increases and the different ways they could be applied. It’s also planning to hold a series of town halls to talk with the community about the need for these higher dues.

There will be no shortage of community ideas. 

During member comments, resident Paul Schmidt suggested an “automatic dues increase that is commensurate with the Consumer Price Index (CPI),” a move that would help keep finances steady during periods of higher inflation. 

Jay Jackson suggested raising the annual maximum increase from three percent to five percent.

“Instead of having a big boost all at once, it might be easier to cope with,” he said. It would be a slow and steady increase in funding that might make it easier to “match revenue with expenses.”

Schmidt also encouraged the administration to come up with a comprehensive communication plan to make sure residents understood the process.

Most of all, he said “make the dues increase simple. And justify the proposal.”

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